She saw him from across the room, not expecting this kind of interaction. He saw her too, and the quick and quiet glances they exchanged went unnoticed by the guests. Each had a glass of champagne in hand, and mingled with others, slowly inching toward one another through dull and stringy conversations mostly comprised of the same questions repeated over and over again with false interest. Lots of “how is work” and “how have you beens” to get through.

He straightened his tie as he came up behind her, he could see the faded tattoo on the back of her neck, and she could feel his eyes on it. She turned around slowly, letting the room spin before facing him and taking a sip of her drink.

There have been many such encounters like these. In the movies they are usually accompanied by a slowing of the soundtrack and a quieting of the crowd. His hand reaches for her face and he stops himself, instead taking his hand to her shoulder and telling her she looks good. She does not speak but grabs his hand and pulls him into the next room making sure that no eyes followed their exit.

It’s all so fleeting, she thought as she pulled at his tie, the world turning into a blur of sounds and spaces around them. It’s all so fleeting, she thought it over and over again, before, during, and after. She looked at him as she zipped up her dress, putting a mask back on so that they could go home with other people because of mistakes made years ago. What a waste, she thought, what a waste.

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